As voter’s rights continue to be suppressed across the country, Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas led his colleagues on the City Council to unanimously adopt a resolution to officially support HR 1 - The For the People Act of 2021, and HR 4 -The John R. Lewis Voting Rights of 2020.
“Your vote matters! It has been nearly 60 years since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and yet new barriers are still disproportionately affecting voters of color. We cannot allow this to persist. Too many people have bled and died to establish and preserve this fundamental right,” said Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas.
Over the centuries, black voters have historically been denied the right to vote through egregious forms of exclusion and suppression. From poll taxes to literacy tests, Jim Crow Laws, and now felony conviction laws, jurisdictions across the nation have attempted to systematically oppress and deprive people of their basic human rights. In 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States removed key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which protected voters from racial discrimination and intimidation. However, at the beginning of 2021, more than 250 bills in 43 states were introduced by State legislators to create barriers to voting.
“As jurisdictions across the nation continue their attempts to destroy the voting rights of the disenfranchised, marginalized and vulnerable, this motion is important to show that Los Angeles stands for everyone having a right and access to voting without being discriminated against and reverting back to a time of Jim Crow Racism,” said President and CEO of Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Rev. William D. Smart Jr.
As the country continues to grapple with racism, inequities, and voter suppression, the demand for transparency and accountability are essential. The For the People Act of 2021 establishes the National Commission to Protect United States Democratic Institutions and develops ethical rules for all three government branches. In addition, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020, which is named after one of the nation’s greatest heroes and civil rights icons,, creates new criteria for determining which states and political subdivisions must obtain preclearance before changes to voting practices in these areas may take effect.
"I'm proud to stand with L.A. City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas in supporting the City Council Resolution to Support H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021, and H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020, because we must do everything we can to stop the coordinated attempts to disenfranchise voters of color across this nation," said Congresswoman Karen Bass.